Recommend a book

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rnbguru
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby rnbguru » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:30 am UTC

Narsil wrote:
pieaholicx wrote:Well, I can recommend two. First up is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It's a very short read, but an excellent take on the idea of a future "utopian" society. Leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions, but still good.

I wouldn't read this if you're over 12. After that, the book starts to seem very immature. Yes, at it's core there is a good story, but it's covered up by layers and layers of crap that aims squarely for the "young adult fiction" category.



I don't know, raeding it today and being a writer myself, I'm really impressed with it. Obviously, the book is written for young adults so some of it is childish, but a lot of it is really well done and surprising for a kids book. First, the giver/notion of receiving memories isn't even introduced until chapter 8, which is impressive given this book is targeted at people with a short attention span.

But what's real cool, and is built from that, is how subtle Lois Lowry was able to reveal all the innerworkings of the society. Just reading a single chapter, you're able to get a great picture of the complexities of their society.

On a related note, did you know there are two sequels to it? I only learned that recently and was really shocked.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby apex » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:41 pm UTC

a brief history of time
"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Avanium » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:00 am UTC

Reading Lolita in Tehran

muy bueno

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Dibley » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:58 am UTC

J.B, by Archibald MacLeish. A play retelling the story of Job that's extremely clever and insightful and more or less contrary to the modern religious interpretation of the story, but shows a great depth of scholarship and insight. Really really worth reading.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Skythe » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:07 am UTC

Battle Royale.
Just got it in the mail. It's a book about a dictator in Japan who takes several jr high classes every year to pit them against each other till just one survives. It's similar to The Hunger Games, but Battle Royale is more grim. Really great
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby AwesomeJosh » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:32 am UTC

Narsil wrote:Haunted, by Chuck Pahlaniuk

I put this up here because it's the only book I've read lately that's made me feel much of anything. In short, the book is a satire of human existance and an exploration of the forces and demons we all carry with us and can undo us all. It's a collection of short stories tied together by the overarching story of various people that have answered the call for a writer's retreat.

Warning, this book is very fucked up. I just put it down after reaching the halfway point (A sordid little tale called "The Nightmare Box") and I really don't know that I can pick it up again. It's just that difficult to read. It's so emotionally taxing, and there's a tale in there for everyone. While they are all affecting and devastating, I think each person will have one story that will hurt more than any other.


I know this was on the first page, but I just wanted to comment that I could not read this book. It quite literally made me pass out when I was early into it. I still shiver when I think about some of the parts I did read.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Inertia » Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:25 pm UTC

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

It is a play, but it reads well. It is a satire about Hell and the interactions of three strangers who meet there. It explores the greatest torture to the human soul while poking fun at human pretense. Originally in French, but I found the English translation to be smooth and natural.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Amoryl » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger

It's a silly, and often absurd telling of a spinster who was born without a soul. also she had the misfortune of having a father who is both Italian, and dead.

set in Victorian England, but a world where the supernatural (mainly vampires, werewolves, and ghosts) have integrated into mainstream society rather than continue lurking in the shadows and preying upon the unfortunate.

written from the point of view of a 25yr old spinster who's far too smart, far too forward, and far too tan to have any proper chances at marriage and subservient household bondage, and so instead seems to get herself stuck in the middle of all sorts of supernatural trouble, much to the consternation of Lord Maccon, who, it would seem, has never quite forgiven her for the hedgehog incident.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby scibob » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

nsmjohn wrote:
As usual my recommendations are The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (bring a dictionary), The Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, and Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman.


I second Night's Dawn. It made me laugh (sometimes), cry (once), and scared the crap out of me (the rest of the time).

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby roboman » Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It is the author's twenty year correspondence with an English bookseller at the titular address.

A lovely book that wholeheartedly recommended.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby greentea » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:54 pm UTC

Camus' "The Stranger" seems to be highly recommended, but I recently read "The Fall" and preferred it by a wide, wide margin. All the delicious absurdity as in the stranger, but it made me laugh more than any book ever has.

Also, I know most people find philosophy to be too dense to actually read, but In my opinion everyone should read Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason". He says alot more and is much less obtuse than other classical philosophers.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby nouna » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:11 pm UTC

I would very much recommend Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It's an incredibly beautiful and sensitively written story about the effects of British colonisation in Nigeria. Do try :)

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby JonathanOst » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

"The Raw Shark Texts" by Steven Hall. It's interesting...

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Glo » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:33 am UTC

Arthur Hailey Moneychangers

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Zohar » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

I just finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It was incredibly exciting, funny, thrilling and suspenseful. I literally couldn't stop reading by the end of it.
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DeathIsTheEnd
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby DeathIsTheEnd » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

Triumff by Dan Abnett. Basically in the Middle Ages Britain allied with Spain and they became the world superpower. Instead of the technological advances we have made they turned instead to magick. Brilliant style of writing and the humour is very well done, similar in some sense to Douglas Adams. Amazing book.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Apteryx » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:39 am UTC

If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Voice of reason » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:13 pm UTC

The "landover" series by Terry Brooks. If you like fantasy mixed with a little bit of logic.

A successful lawyer who lost his wife and unborn son in a car crash two years prior is slowly slipping away from his life and is desperate to find something to fix his life. he finds a mysterious offer in a catalog. "fairytale kingdom for sale... become king over this fairy tale land and rule" only 1 million dollars. like a sensible person he thinks this is a scam, but it is in a very well respected Christmas catalog for people with exquisite tastes so he decides to check it out. after buying it he finds that the kingdom is real but not exactly as he expected. he has been tricked into becoming a king over a court of a clumsy magician a scribe who was turned into a dog by said magician and two Kobolds, fairy creatures that look like monkeys and pledged there loyalty to the king. the land is dying and he has to become a true king to fix it.

Its a better read than I'm explaining. It's worth a check.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Okapi » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:41 am UTC

Well, though East of Eden is by far my favourite book ever, as far as recommending a book to people that are generally similar to me (i.e. xkcd fans), I'd have to say Neal Stephenson's Anathem.

It has everything. Incestuous thoughts, violence, talking about one's penis, a skinhead who thinks he's a martial artist, martial artists, spaceships, really cool spaceships, motherships, elf-like aliens, maths, science, lots and lots of philosophy, conspiracies, interesting characters, romance, action, drugs, isolated areas where really smart people go just to be really smart all damned day long, quantum mechanics, really cool spaceships, people without families, religion, atheism, more philosophy, more really cool spaceships, excellent prose and description, an enthralling plot, gripping events, and a thousand effing pages of all of the above. Also, really cool spaceships. It is primarily about maths and philosophy and obscure theories by famous minds of the past and thinly veiled Kabbalistic philosophy, but, instead of being thinly veiled by an overly-cheery or overly-dreary plot, like most such books are, it is beautifully accompanied by a complex, enthralling plot, and, instead of ending after 150 pages, it goes on for 980 pages, yet at the end I still found myself thinking, Is that it? Is it really over already? It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It will make you wish you'd read the glossary before you started reading the story, so you'd know what the Hell anybody was talking about (the book is largely a parody of history, taking place in a slightly more perfect version of Earth, called Arbre, and there are many congruent philosophers and scientists and concepts, and it takes place roughly three thousand years in the future and in a different universe, so the author breaks the rule of not having more than three made-up words, but, like Shakespeare, pulls it off, yet, unlike Shakespeare, requires an entertaining glossary to do so).

Immensely entertaining, pretty effing satisfying, an excellent read that defies Stephenson's other work by being much, much better. (I liked neither what little I read of Cryptonomicon or the Baroque Cycle, but Anathem was truly something special.) It definitely qualifies as my second-favourite book.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Peter Galbavy » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:59 pm UTC

Lit_Rat wrote:Winter's tale by Mark Helprin is amazing. It should be a classic. Throw in two parts brilliant writing, one part deep writing, one part fantasy, one part new york city, a dash of romance and gang wars, and voila.


My favorite book since first reading it in the 80s. Recommended and then some. I managed to acquire myself a first edition in excellent condition a couple of years ago and this made me extra happy :)

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Apteryx » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:54 am UTC

Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees.

Wow. Just amazing. Published in 1926.

Neil Gaiman wrote of it, "The single most beautiful, solid, unearthly, and unjustifiably forgotten novel of the twentieth century".
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Chuff » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:02 am UTC

Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. Basically, High Fantasy + Roman Legions + Pokemon.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Apteryx » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:22 am UTC

Chuff wrote:Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. Basically, High Fantasy + Roman Legions + Pokemon.

:shock:

And you recommend it. I guess I can ask in the library, I have read stranger sounding stuff..

Do the Legions ride the Pokemon or fight them?. :)
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Chuff » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:25 pm UTC

Apteryx wrote:
Chuff wrote:Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. Basically, High Fantasy + Roman Legions + Pokemon.

:shock:

And you recommend it. I guess I can ask in the library, I have read stranger sounding stuff..

Do the Legions ride the Pokemon or fight them?. :)

The legions fight using the pokemon.
The Great Hippo wrote:The internet's chief exports are cute kittens, porn, and Reasons Why You Are Completely Fucking Wrong.
addams wrote:How human of him. "If, they can do it, then, I can do it." Humans. Pfft. Poor us.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Rogles » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:45 am UTC

If you like science fiction, then the Xeelee Sequence by Stephen Baxter is proooobably as good as it gets. Like a huge mythos of books and short stories, some of which were only serialized in Interzone and Analog magazines. Like it goes from the Big Bang all the way to
Spoiler:
the collision of the Milky Way and Andromeda, five billion years in the future.


And it's just so well written.

If you're planning to read it, I'd start with Vacuum Diagrams, which is a collection of short stories from around 3500 AD to 5 million AD, and it gives a crapload of backstory for the series. After that, I'd read the Destiny's Children books, which are a four-book kind of sub-series to the Xeelee Sequence. The just read whatever else is there. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I did it. :P I don't want to spoil too much so I won't. Google it, because I'm not supposed to post links until I've posted five times, apparently.

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arbivark
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby arbivark » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:50 am UTC

This is not the cover of the book (atrocity archives), it's only the cover of the game.
And the book, while a good read, is no Anathem or East of Eden. But this seemed to be the right thread for it.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Lawrensaurus » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:19 pm UTC

apex wrote:a brief history of time


I'd agree, but I have to recommend An Illustrated Brief History of Time. Essentially it's the same book, but a updated, better version of it.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Jorpho » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

Aye, every time I reach for A Brief History of Time, I hesitate, because there always seems to be some newer, better version available than whatever one I'm looking at. Are they really all so different? (I guess A Briefer History of Tme is to be avoided?)

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Bufo_periglenes » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:01 pm UTC

Three science fiction books:

Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
A collection of interesting, rather offbeat Russian science fiction short stories from the 1920s and ’30s.

The Reproductive System (a.k.a. Mechasm) by John T. Sladek (“The Creatures That Devoured Altoona!”)
A satirical book about a system of robots which can reproduce (hence the title). It’s a little uneven, but a lot of fun.

Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
One of the books he wrote for kids. A teenage boy wins a space suit in an advertising jingle contest, and answers a radio distress signal from a passing spaceship. Adventures ensue.


My all-time favorite book is The Sound and the Fury, but I hesitate to recommend it since several people I know dislike it intensely.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby davidmarlee » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges; a collection of short stories usually philosophically themed. If you like to have some mind altering experiences you should try it out.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:54 pm UTC

mengelji wrote: - Brighton Rock AND/or The Third Man, by Graham Greene

Definitely these, but with the proviso that you should ideally watch the film of The Third Man and read the novel of Brighton Rock. Definitely avoid the film of Brighton Rock... it's not good at all.

Faction Paradox: This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles - Caught in the middle of a war beyond scale, fought by time-active powers not only across but using time itself, the Town is a culturally stagnant waste land, out of which four characters attempt to change things, or at least to find meaning. From the goth-girl ritualist who wants to awaken the Great Urban Horror, the ambulance-driver with pretensions of political activism, and the film-star worried by the possibility of her media-appearances gaining independence from her, this book is without doubt the most interesting piece of sci-fi I've read.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton - a police informer infiltrates and rises to the top of a secret society of anarchists, joining the ruling council of seven as Mr. Thursday. But who is the mysterious Sunday, and what is he doing it all for? Kingsley Amis described this as the most thrilling book he ever read, and it's easy to see why. Hugely entertaining and at times killingly funny.

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - describing the decline and fall of a marriage in the inter-war period in the UK, IMO this is Waugh's finest book, with a pitch-perfect mix of tragedy and comedy, cynicism and innocence.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Jesse » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:21 pm UTC

davidmarlee wrote:Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges; a collection of short stories usually philosophically themed. If you like to have some mind altering experiences you should try it out.


I completely second this, it's an amazing read. It's also a must-read if you've ever picked up House of Leaves. I'm back here to shout at everyone again for not owning The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. If you're a fan of writing, read these stories. You know the way Palahniuk writes? The way he tries not to waste any words, and twist things around to the reader? This woman excels at that. Literally some of the greatest writing since I was born.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby JGefell » Thu May 06, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

I'm just finishing up the works of Mr. Doctorow, and am interested in something similar. Any suggestions? I've a few long plane rides coming up next week in which I need to occupy myself with.

Extra points if its available as an ebook, free or otherwise.
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Apteryx
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Apteryx » Tue May 11, 2010 1:01 am UTC

Vernor Vinge writes about similar topics, and much better writer all round than Doctrow. Try the novel "Across Realtime".
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby novax6 » Tue May 11, 2010 5:19 am UTC

Just started Before They Are Hanged, the second book of the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.
I'm liking the series so far, interesting characters, and told in a refreshing noir style that focuses more on actions and thoughts then it does being overly wordy about describing the world and every little thing. Pretty much the antithesis of the writing style of Robert Jordan or similar fantasy authors.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby darjeeling » Tue May 11, 2010 7:52 am UTC

A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay. Perhaps the best book I've read.

It's very, very odd. A sort of sci-fi/spiritual adventure. Written in the 1920s, when all sorts of strange spiritual things were going on :)

I don't re-read books, but I'm pretty sure I will with this one. It's pretty abstract.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Unbeliever » Tue May 11, 2010 10:50 pm UTC

I don't know if they've been recommended yet, but Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny, and the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett are pretty much the greatest books ever written.
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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Jorpho » Wed May 12, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Yes, Lord of Light has its own thread. Perhaps you'd like to see it?
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=30570

Pratchett is hardly in the same league, enjoyable though his books may be.

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Aben Zin » Sat May 15, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

Hello.
The main requirement for things I read (for pleasure at least) is that it takes me completely away- that I can get so absorbed in the story that looking up from the book and returning to the real world seems stranger than staying in the story. For me the master of this is Neil Gaiman.
The first book I read of his entirely (I'd already read Good Omens) was American Gods. It was something I read in my lunchbreaks, and the 15 minute breaks at work (in a well known book/stationary shop), and coming down the stairs and having to talk with real people always felt somewhat surreal. Since then I do admit to being a bit of a fanboy.

Some other previously mentioned reccomendations:
Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy (and forth book, Best Served Cold!) have probably the most interesting cast of characters in any fantasy series, averting so many tropes along the way it's almost funny.

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series are not only clever and hilarious but set in Swindon! Swindon, people!

Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy are a good romp with lots of gribbly undead.

Susanna Clarke's Johnathan Strange and Mr Norell is another of those books that sucked me in, so much so that I found myself most surprized to be speaking as if I were in the novel itself!

Other things to reccomend:

Humor:
The books of Bill Bryson are all hilarious, though in some cases they were written quite a long time ago- Britain has changed quite a lot since Notes From A Small Island
Danny Wallace's books are sidesplitting. Don't be put off by the fact that he wrote Yes Man- the original book was fantastic though I haven't watch the Jim Carrey film.

Graphic Novels:
Tintin! If you can get past the racism of the early books (very much of their time) they're well plotted, amazingly researched and still gripping.
Neil Gaiman's Sandman series are amazing, and I'm surprised they haven't been mentioned.

Junk food:

The Black Library books can be pretty trashy but if you like the setting I'd reccomend Dan Abbnett's works in particular.
And of course Ciaphas Cain: HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! by Sandy Mitchell are a welcome antidote to the other, occasionally somewhat po-faced, Black Library titles.

Az

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Re: Recommend a book

Postby Apteryx » Sun May 23, 2010 3:20 am UTC

I just finished the sequel to The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross, it is "The Jennifer Morgue". I think I am not spoiling ( because it is only repeating what is on the blurb ) when I say

James Bond meets Cthulhu. And in a way not the least bit cheesy. It has some great twists and turns, and an excellent sting in the tail.

Very good read
Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
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